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EU countries authorized their vessels to fish unlawfully in African waters

Staff Writer |
Oceana released a new report highlighting unlawful fishing activities, authorized by four European countries, in the waters of The Gambia and Equatorial Guinea between April 2012 and August 2015.

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Using data from Global Fishing Watch, an online technology tool that provides the first global view of commercial fishing activity, Oceana found that Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain awarded private fishing authorizations, which granted individual vessels access to these waters in contravention of EU law.

EU countries cannot legally issue permits for their vessels to fish in the waters of nations with dormant fishing agreements, for example with The Gambia and Equatorial Guinea.

With the help of Global Fishing Watch, Oceana found that:

- 19 EU-flagged vessels fished unlawfully for more than 31,000 hours between April 2012 and August 2015, which included:

- 18 EU-flagged vessels from Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain fishing in the waters of The Gambia for 31,706 hours.

- 1 EU-flagged vessel from Spain fishing in the waters of Equatorial Guinea for 170 hours.

EU vessels fishing on the high seas or in foreign waters contribute 28 percent of the total EU catch.

It is estimated that EU Member States have awarded more than 23,000 fishing vessel authorizations to fish outside EU waters since 2008.

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